In the book Code of the Streets, Anderson moves to an urban part of Philadelphia where the African American neighborhoods are filled with people selling drugs, crime rates are high, and people are living in poverty. Anderson becomes a part of the society there and examines elements such as respect, honor, loyalty, and unspoken rules of the streets known as the "code of the streets". It is not just these communities that live by street codes, its many other urban cities. Anderson points out that other cities are also facing problems such as teen pregnancy, strive for respect, drugs, and people committing crimes.
In the book, it's discussed how the whole community must have an equal understanding of the code of the street since it is not just street families who live in these aggressive environments, its people of all backgrounds. In order the people of these communities to survive their surroundings, they must know this code and respect it because it could be the means between success and failure or life and death. This is a dual commonality, as Anderson says, because of the difference in moral and values between decent families and street families, in inner city communities.
Anderson differentiates "decent families" and "street families" in that decent families work hard, are independent, and believe in many mainstream morals and values. The decent families teach their children manners, to respect others, and to be polite. In efforts to reach their goals, they utilize their community's institutions like going to church and attending school. Street parents have a hard time showing consideration for others and difficulties with establishing a sense of family and community. Although these parents love their children, it is hard for them to cope with the demands of parenthood and the needs of their children. Rather than having mainstream values, the street families that are invested in the code of the street believe in the codes and socialize their children in it as though it is normal.